Octavia Spencer: I Said ‘Prayers’ for the Oscars Accountant Who Was Involved in Best Picture Mistake

Prayers for Brian! Octavia Spencer is praying for the Oscars accountant who was responsible for the Best Picture mix-up on Sunday, February 26.

The 46-year-old actress was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as NASA mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in Hidden Figures, but lost to her close friend Viola Davis for Fences. “It was exhilarating and fun,” she told Jimmy Fallon on his talk show on Thursday, March 2. “I mean, it was a lot of firsts that night.”

The Help star, who stunned in a Marchesa gown, said there was mass chaos in her star-studded row after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly named La La Land the Best Picture winner, instead of Moonlight. She was sitting next to Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Viggo Mortensen and her Hidden Figures costars Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae while the Oscars organizers sorted out the error. “Janelle was in Moonlight and didn’t realize they had won,” she said. “I’m like, ‘You gotta get up there, you guys won.’”

Spencer (who won her own Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2012 for The Help) joked that she hoped her film was the true winner. "It was a ‘Hold up. Wait a minute. What’s going on? Did Hidden Figures win?’” she quipped. “I really felt for the La La Land people, but they had won all night.”

The children’s book author added that she is keeping Brian Cullinan, the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant who handed out the wrong envelope, in her thoughts and prayers. “The guy that gave the envelope, I really said some prayers for him because he is the one that really just, like, that was bad,” she said. “It was kinda sad.” Cullinan and his colleague, Martha Ruiz, will not be invited back to the awards show next year. 

However, she acknowledged that it was an “honest mistake” and applauded everyone for handling the fiasco gracefully. “I’m glad that Warren Beatty explained all the drama and squashed it,” she said. 

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